"The Ascension," a 14th-century silk embroidery on canvas (Metropolitan Museum of Art)
Editor's note: NCR is sharing with our readers a nine-day Novena for Pentecost resource created by board member and composer Dan Schutte. Schutte writes, "if there's ever a moment when we all could use the light and wisdom of the Holy Spirit, it's now. While we wait till we can be together again for Sunday worship, this is a way we can join our hearts in prayer." The entire Novena for Pentecost can be found here.
Feast of the Ascension
As the Risen Christ prepared to leave his work in the hands of his followers, he instructed them to gather in the upper room and devote themselves to prayer as they awaited his sending of the Holy Spirit. The nine days between the Feast of the Ascension and Pentecost is often considered to be the first novena.
Pentecost is considered the birthday of the church, the day when that first community of believers was baptized with the Holy Spirit and sent out to tell the world about the Risen Christ. The storm of the present pandemic is inviting all of us, whether we like it or not, to rethink how we live in this world. It's also beckoning us to reimagine ourselves as church, as that community of baptized believers who are sent to recreate the world.
And so, let us join those first disciples in these nine days of prayer, a way for us to be together even while we are separated by space, to ask God to make us ready to receive the Spirit and follow unafraid where that Holy Breath of God might take us.